You are here

About 4-H

The grouped 4-H icons - head, heart, hands, health

The 4-H Youth program strives to improve the quality of life for Mississippi 4-H'ers by developing the potential of young people and by providing "hands-on" (experiential) educational programs. Program priorities identified include leadership development, life skills training, developing positive self-esteem, and empowering volunteers. Programs are delivered through local county Extension offices to volunteer leaders. Learn more about how to join. 

The 4-H Symbol

4-H is best identified by its green four-leaf clover with an H on each leaf. The four Hs on this emblem stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. These words emphasize the basis of the four-fold development of young people involved in 4-H.

Head: 4-H'ers focus on thinking, making decisions, and understanding and gaining knowledge.

Heart: 4-H'ers are concerned with the welfare of others and accept the responsibilities of citizenship and developing attitudes and values.

Hands: 4-H'ers use their hands to learn new skills and develop pride and respect for their own work.

Health: 4-H'ers develop and practice healthy living physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially.

The Four Essential Elements of 4-H

Mastery - By exploring 4-H projects and activities, 4-H'ers master skills to make positive career and life choices. 4-H provides a safe environment to make mistakes and receive feedback, and young people can discover their capabilities while meeting new challenges.

Generosity - By participating in 4-H community service and citizenship activities, 4-H'ers can connect to communities and learn to give back to others. These connections help young people find and fulfill their life's purpose.

Independence - By exercising independence through 4-H leadership opportunities, 4-H'ers mature in self-discipline and responsibility, learn to better understand themselves, and become independent thinkers.

Belonging - Through 4-H, young people can develop long-term consistent relationships with adults other than their parents and learn that they are cared about by and connected to others. 4-H gives young people the opportunity to feel physically and emotionally safe in a group setting.

4-H History

An image of 4-H'ers in a corn field.
This image shows young people holding a 4-H banner.
This image shows a man and child in a field.

4-H grew out of the progressive education movement in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Rural school principals and superintendents wanted to teach their students about the material they would need to succeed in the business world.

At the same time, agricultural colleges and experiment stations were accumulating scientific knowledge that could improve productivity and the standard of living for farmers, but farmers showed little interest in these "book farming" methods. These professors thought that teaching farmers' children improved agricultural methods might allow the information to reach the farmers.

Rural school principals and superintendents teamed with agricultural college researchers to form corn clubs in most eastern and southern states at this time.

W. H. "Corn Club" Smith was instrumental in forming Mississippi's first corn clubs. In 1907, Smith received a franking privilege and a salary of $1 per year from the United States Department of Agriculture. This was the first time the USDA had been involved in a youth program and established a three-way partnership of county, state, and federal governments working together.

While other states had corn clubs before Mississippi, none had the federal partnership Mississippi had. This is the basis of Mississippi's claim to be the birthplace of 4-H. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Publications

News

A goat stands in front of a fence.
Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Agriculture, Agri-business, Goats and Sheep June 10, 2021

Dairy goats make up a niche market of the Mississippi livestock industry, but their popularity is growing across the state. Interest has grown among 4-H livestock program members, people who participate in various other showmanship contests and people who want goat milk products.

Filed Under: 4-H, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Wildlife Youth Education June 4, 2021

4-H’ers can participate in an upcoming camp and have fun while learning about environmental sciences. The 4-H E.A.R.T.H. Camp, or Environmental Awareness through Recreation, Technology and Health, will be held Aug. 2-4 at Lake Tiak-O’Khata in Winston County.

A drone in the foreground being controlled by young students in the background.
Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Agriculture May 21, 2021

As students toss their caps into the air at graduation, some may be wondering how to combine their love of video games with careers that offer financial independence and stability.

Fortunately, a wide range of careers in agriculture await those more inclined toward advanced technology than previous generations might have experienced.

Several times a year, Mississippi State University Extension associates visit high schools across the state to show students how their love for technology intersects with agriculture, the state’s largest economic driver.

Three volunteers unload boxes from an 18-wheeler.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, AIM for CHangE May 6, 2021

MAYERSVILLE, Miss. -- Alexis Hamilton never thought he would be hauling a green plastic dinosaur sheathed in protective plastic through an empty field in the Mississippi Delta. But when he looks back on his career, it’s not that big of a leap.

Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Healthy Homes Initiative, Mississippi Well Owner Network March 25, 2021

 Private well workshops in four counties this spring will help homeowners improve their drinking water sources.

Success Stories

Three smiling women.
Health and Wellness, Family, Children and Parenting, Food and Health, Nutrition and Wellness
Volume 7 Number 1

Head Start staff completes training to ensure safe, healthy foods

Washington County Opportunities Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start was forced to stop in-person services for much of 2020 because of the pandemic, but that did not stop its staff from feeding the children who are registered in the program.

A woman, wearing all black clothes and a red, white, and blue scarf, smiling in front of flower bushes with her arms crossed.
4-H, Community
Volume 7 Number 1

State senator credits 4-H background for commitment to service

Helping Mississippi’s economy survive a pandemic and supporting historic legislation to change the state flag are just a few of the votes that have made Nicole Boyd’s rookie legislative session an unprecedented one.

A woman walking on a sidewalk curved around a tall tree.
4-H, Health and Wellness, Family, Nutrition
Volume 7 Number 1

Extension continues educational efforts despite pandemic

Serra Beth Greenlee takes a lot of classes at her local Mississippi State University Extension Service office in Alcorn County. When she saw the Walk-a-Weigh program would be offered virtually, she signed up.

Four women and two men stand spaced out in green grass.
4-H, Leadership, Volunteers, Community
Volume 7 Number 1

Noxubee County volunteers make a difference through service

Everybody who knows Landis and Katherine Mickens, who’ve lived in Noxubee County all their lives, knows they care about service. The Mickens’s ties to their Macon neighbors are strong and run deep, just like their 38-year marriage.

A man with his arm around a smiling woman standing on a sidewalk in front of a lake.
4-H, Agriculture, Agricultural Economics
Volume 7 Number 1

A Reward for Hard Work

Doss Family Endows Scholarship for Future Extension Agents

In the Doss family, a strong work ethic is the hallmark of success. That is why, as a tribute to his parents, Roy and Helen, Derrell Doss arranged for their trust to fund a scholarship for Mississippi State University students who want to pursue careers related to agriculture, home economics, and the Extension Service.

Listen

Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 7:00am
Thursday, January 2, 2020 - 7:00am
Friday, December 27, 2019 - 5:45am
Thursday, December 26, 2019 - 7:00am
Friday, December 20, 2019 - 5:45am

Select Your County Office

Related Materials